Overview of Main Operations at Friendship
Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital
Initiated by Friendship in 2001 with an aim to provide essential, primary healthcare services to the Char and riverbank based populations of northern Bangladesh. The project is designed to reach Char based population clusters that are isolated from mainstream habitation and have minimal or no access to healthcare services due to lack of transport and communication facilities.
Following the success of the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital, Friendship launched its second floating hospital on November 22, 2008. The Emirates Friendship Floating Hospital (EFH) provides medical services similar to that of the Lifebuoy Friendship hospital and thus further strengthens Friendship’s health initiatives in hard to reach Char areas of Kurigram district. EFH, since its inauguration, has been providing health services near Dhaka but was recently moved to Tongipara, Gopalganj.
Until October 2009, more than 980,000 registered beneficiaries have received primary and secondary healthcare services as a result of the operation of these two boats.
Secondary Health Services
There is an acute need of secondary healthcare services in these areas, but no facilities for providing such services. To address this need Friendship provides secondary healthcare services though the Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital and through specialized health camps. These health camps are arranged regularly with specialist European doctors and provide different types secondary healthcare services including eye, dental and ENT clinic and surgery, pediatric, orthopedic, plastic-reconstructive surgery, post operative care, specialist consultation, referral service etc with the support of Humanitera, BNHS & various private donors.
Friendship also operates 232 Satellite clinics every month in 94 different Nomad Islands/chars of Gaibandha and Kurigram districts which reach the remotest and most inaccessible islands and provide basic services to the women, children and men. The Satellite Clinics’ services are as follows:
Another 60 Satellite clinics are operating in Patuakhali, Barguna, Bagerhat and Pirojpur district.
Friendship Community Medics (FCMs)
In 2008, Friendship introduced yet another innovative way of delivering primary care to the char dwellers. The program selects women of the community and trains them with the purpose of creating a ‘self-sustaining, primary health service providing’ mechanism on the chars. FCMs undergo intensive training to address disease prevention, maternal and child health, nutrition and family planning issues. FCMs have proved to be an effective and efficient means of improving community health by serving as a vital link between communities and health care systems. Each FCM monitors the health status of 250 households. The program also empowers women with an income source and self-confidence.
Other Friendship operations include:
- Nutrition Program
- Child Immunization Program (EPI)
- Family Planning
- River Ambulance
- 55 Primary Schools
- 35 Functional Literacy Schools (for adults and adolescents)
- “Teach a Friend” project, promoting peer education in the chars
- Adult Education Project
- “Accessing a Better Life” – rural social education project based on civil rights -based awareness
- Sustainable Income Generating project, based on Friendship’s risk sharing, micro-insurance and savings scheme
- Weaving, Dying and Printing production center for women and adolescents in Gaibandha districts
- Vocational Training Schools
- Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Promotion and Irrigation Support Program
- Living Boat Museum, to preserve Bengali ancient boat heritage